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Friday, 12th April 2024
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Deal of the Year 2005: C&C’s €726 million IPO leads the deals in this year’s deal directory Back  
The IPO of food and drinks company C&C on the Dublin and London stock exchanges last May is the largest deal nominated in this year’s FINANCE Deal of the Year survey. Other top deals of the past 12 months as selected by Ireland’s leading corporate financiers for inclusion in the survey, include the Grafton Group’s €353 million takeover of the Heiton Group, and the €117 million acquisition of the Gresham Hotels Group by a group of investors, David Coleman, Bryan Cullen and John Joe Murphy.
There was heightened activity in the Irish corporate finance market over the past 12 months, with another flotation, and a number of significant mergers and acquisitions by a number of key Irish corporates. The past year also marked the first time that the Competition Authority prohibited a merger – the proposed merger of the business recovery services of IBM and Schlumberger.
M&A graphic


A number of key drivers are behind the growth. Several deals, such as the Grafton Group’s acquisition of the Heiton Group, were driven by a desire to consolidate. A Grafton and Heiton merger has been the topic of much speculation over the past number of years, with many analysts expecting these two key players in the building materials sector to come together. A key issue in the deal was Grafton’s position as a competitor of Heiton. As such, it was critical that a credible proposition was put forward by Grafton before information concerning Heiton was provided to Grafton.

Another driver was the growth of private and institutional investors seeking to expand their investment portfolios. David Coleman, Bryan Cullen and John Joe Murphy of Precinct Investments Limited acquired the Gresham Hotels Group plc €117 million in July of last year. Although Precinct’s initial approach of €1.35 per share was rejected by Red Sea, a group holding 27 per cent of voting rights in Gresham, its subsequent bid of €1.40 was accepted.

Also during the year, Sean Quinn expanded his burgeoning empire, which includes his Quinn Financial Services Group, the Quinn Manufacturing division, Quinn Hotels, as well a share in NCB Stockbrokers, by acquiring the radiators and plastics firm, the Barlo Group, for €84 million. Quinn had to overcome an MBO ‘insider’ offer by Melgan Limited, a company which was created by Dr Anthony Mullins, the then CEO of Barlo and other members of management, in order to take control of Barlo.

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